Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'm a grumposaurus!

Mr Foodie likes to call me a grumposaurus which never fails to have Marie in stitches. It is a yet undiscovered species of ancient (he likes to call me ancient since he is a year and bits younger than me) dinosaur. It's main characteristic: It's grumpy. And I've just been tagged by the lovely Jen over at the King and I to list 7 things that make me grumpy. Only 7 things, I could write a list as long as my arm (if not longer!). But here they are in no particular order (although the first one would be tops!)

  1. Mr Foodie's wind problem. I'm sure he has enough wind to open a wind farm and power a small village in China (at least 1 million people). It's the first thing he does in the morning and the last thing he does at night. Noise, smell, and the accompanying faces he pulls have the power to make me very grumpy. I find it quite rude. He finds it funny. If I'm a grumposaurus, he's a fartosaurus.
  2. Being hungry: I get very very grumpy when I'm hungry. If I don't eat, my brain doesn't function and I can't make any decision or think about anything else but my stomach and its need for food which makes me even grumpier.
  3. Over multi-tasking: My name is not Kali. I do not have 10 arms and 10 legs. I also still haven't found a way to clone myself to be in 4 rooms at the same time.
  4. Inconsiderate and selfish people. Not putting your indicator on, getting off the elevator and not moving out of the way, not getting out of the way in the street when you are faced with a buggy, watching TV too loud etc does make you inconsiderate. You are not alone in the world!
  5. Racism/Intolerance. 'I'm not racist but...' If you start your sentence that way, you are more than likely about to make a racist comment and you know it. If so, I don't want to hear it. We are all the same. We are all human beings. Being black, yellow, red, blue or purple, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic or atheist, gay or straight, special needs or neurotypical does not make a difference. We are all people. Get over it!  
  6. Mornings. When I was in school, my dad used to drive me to the bus stop. We had figured out a system (involving who used which room when) that would allow me not to see anybody until I got into the car  (a good 45 minutes after getting up). That's how grumpy I am! Mr Foodie is a morning person, I'm not. Him singing the Bee Gees at 5.45 am gets me even grumpier.
  7. All the Vicky Pollard of this world screwing the system. Why should I pretend that I am a single mother in order to get what should be rightfully mine just because their sole purpose in life is to make babies and cash in social welfare! There are too many people now who have worked all their life and really need the help for anybody to tolerate that kind of attitude!
But really I'm not that big of a grump. There are just things that get to me. And the main thing: I can't remain grumpy for long. So now, it's time to tag 7 well deserving bloggers. Let's see what gets the following bloggers grumpy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Don't count your chickens!

I recently suffered from a bad case of counting my chickens before they were hatched. Or as we say in France, selling the bear's skin before I killed it (why is it that our phrases sound a lot more violent!). Two weeks ago, I took a long overdue trip to the French Embassy to finally register Noelie's birth and officially make her a French citizen. About time I hear some of you say (I heard you Mum!), she turns one next week! There are various reasons why we hadn't done it up to now.

1- I was too lazy. We were missing some documents:

You don't need many things to get your child registered. Not really. You need the form filled in. You need the baby's birth cert, and the mum's birth cert and the dad's birth cert. Not too complicated so far. You also need a copy of the french parent's passport or ID card. So what were we missing? We were missing Mr Foodie's birth cert. We tried ordering it online but the amount of questions they ask is just incredible. Do you remember your parents' address, the one they lived at when you were born? They are just short of asking you what colour nightdress your mam was wearing when she gave birth to you! Anyway, the questionnaire looked way too complicated to fill in so we had decided to drop in to the office in town to get it. And we forgot all about it. We eventually went in and got Mr Foodie's and Noelie's birth cert (just in case the one we had was too old). Because one of the requirements is that all copies of the birth certs have to be less than 3 months old. Why? To make sure you're not dead. In France, when you die a mention is put on your birth cert within 3 months saying that you're dead. So we had to make sure that all birth certs were in date. Which means that my poor mother was requesting and sending me my own birth cert from France. Thankfully, unlike here, they are free! So I now have about 4 of my birth certs that are not worth much.

2-I was too lazy I hate the french administration:

There I said it. I think their motto is 'Why make it simple if we can make it complicated?'. For any of you that have never had any contact with the French administration, I hope you never have to. I don't wish it on my worst enemy (well, maybe some of them). The French administration has the power to make you go completely gaga (and not Lady Gaga). It is full of forms and red tape. Never ever enter a French Administration building with the hopes of coming out within the hour. It is not going to happen. You go to counter 1 to deliver form 15, but you are informed that you cannot deliver form 15 until you have completed form 26 available at counter 57, on the 3rd floor, 9th door on the left. When you get there, breathless, there is a queue of 12 people. You wait and finally get to the counter where you are informed that form 26 is now only available from counter 2 downstairs but that you need to fill in form 88 at counter 45 in order to be able to get form 26, which will allow you to finally give form 15 at counter number one. Do you get me? So I was dreading having to go in to the Embassy and deliver all those documents. Especially since my last experience with them was the elections a few years back, where the turnout was so much bigger than they predicted and people had to queue for up to 4 hours to cast their vote.

These are the main reasons why we hadn't done it up until now. But, two weeks ago, I got very very brave and decided to go in. It took some preparation, making sure all the forms and documents were there. All completed accordingly. I had to renew my registration as a French citizen living in Ireland too which meant I had to go and get a lovely passport picture taken (I do look like a convict no matter how much I try not to!), passport copied etc. Surprisingly, there was no queue and the man behind the counter was very helpful. I had a mini heart attack when he asked me if I had Noelie's passport with me, as it was the only thing I had of course forgotten but he looked at his list again and said that it wasn't necessary. I got out after only about 30 minutes, very proud of myself. Noelie was now officially a French citizen. Well, she was going to be the week after when the lady that deals with that kind of stuff would be back off holidays.

That's where I was counting my chickens or selling that bear skin. Wednesday last week, I received an e-mail (at least, they've evolved in the way they communicate with people) requesting a new form filled in. One that wasn't on the list and signed by both Mr Foodie and myself. You see, when it comes to choosing the family name of your children the law has changed. When I had Marie, if the father's name was on the birth cert, the child would automatically have the father's name. But they have now allowed for unmarried parents to decide which family name they want to give their children. That was the form we needed to fill in. We don't have a printer so I had to send it on to Mr Foodie so that he could print it out in work but he was finishing in 5 minutes. So I filled in the form everything except the place and date at the bottom, emailed it to Mr Foodie in work and sent him a text to let him know that he had to print it out. He managed to do it although he wasn't very happy about having to stay back to do it. But it got done. He got home, the form got signed, dated and put in an envelope. And the next day, Mr Foodie gave it to one of his friends that was in the area to drop it off. Except that the next day was a French Bank Holiday so the Embassy was closed. Doh!!! I completely forgot that it was! We finally managed to get it dropped on the Friday. Thankfully, although it is the administration they didn't have one of the famous French 'ponts' (in English bridge, basically if a bank holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, people usually take the Monday / Friday off too, so that they have an extra long week end.)

And I started counting my chickens again. All I had to do was wait for the postman to deliver the confirmation that she was indeed registered. And I waited until Wednesday (the lady must only work on that type of request on Wednesdays). When I got another email, quite clear and to the point. 'We acknowledge receipt of the form we sent you last week. However, it is dated 12/05/09. Please send it back to us properly dated'. Another Doh! moment for me. As my mum said: You'd know that you are not working. And she is right. Had I been working I would have dated the stupid thing properly and not backdated it to before Noelie's birth! Thankfully, Mr Foodie had printed 3 copies. So we signed it and dated it again. And Mr Foodie forgot to take it with him to give to his friend, twice. So, since Monday is another Bank Holiday in France (May is the best month in France, there are between 3 and 4 bank holidays unless they fall on a Saturday or Sunday) , I decided to go and drop it myself today. They open at 9h30 and I got there at 10h00. There was a queue outside of about 10 people. I waited with Noelie for about 10 minutes and then the gendarme came out, asking the reason of everybody's presence. Since I was only dropping in a form, he took it in for me.

So now, I'm not counting my chickens or selling that bear skin. Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he didn't forget to hand it in, that the wind didn't take it off of his clipboard, that I dated it correctly and that there is nothing else that will go wrong. So it's fingers crossed, if I don't get another email on Wednesday, maybe, just maybe, everything is OK and she can be registered.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An unusual week!

It's been such a week!

Marie came out with a mystery 'illness' the past week. She came home from Noodleland (that's her father's to you and me) 2 weeks ago with her cheeks bright pink. Not healthy, too much running around, rosy cheeks. More of a neon bright pink. It wasn't make up either. It wasn't a rash, she wasn't feeling unwell, it wasn't anywhere else on her body. She just had bright pink neon like cheeks. I did a bit of research on the Internet and talked to my mum. A few options came up. Something called roseola which is a minor childhood disease that 90% of adults have contracted as children but might not even know they've had it. It usually starts with a mild fever a few days before but we didn't see her much in the days leading to the 'neon cheeks'. She had stayed with Mr Foodie's mum and dad for a couple of days as school was on half term, then she went up to Noodleland. She was at home and school for a couple of days but never complained of feeling unwell. She had the usual energy levels. The only thing we did notice is that she kept bumping into things and falling over. On the best of days, she is not a graceful child. She does have a tendency to be clumsy and bump into things etc. But it seemed that for a couple of days she was clumsier than usual. We never thought much of it though. And then the neon cheeks came up. And went after a couple of days. Strange. Then, on Sunday she came back from her week end in Noodleland with red marbled looking arms. Again it wasn't a rash, it wasn't anywhere else on her body. Just red marble effect arms which stopped at her tee-shirt sleeves. It was like seeing the veins in her body but instead of being blue, it was bright red. It wasn't itchy, she wasn't feeling unwell. I took her to the pharmacy and the very nice lady there confirmed that it did look like an allergy but that it would be quite difficult to identify what caused it since it is allergy season, with pollen, grass etc.

Allergies are not uncommon on my side of the family. I am allergic to soap on my face. My mum is allergic to the sun ( which is quite ironic when you live in the sunny south of France). My dad is allergic to...well... to something that causes him to suffer asthma attacks. He was tested for all the common allergies and the results came back negative. His only option was to travel to Paris to get checked out more by a leading specialist but it was too time consuming and he never bothered. His opinion: 'I'm allergic to work.'. The doctor didn't seem to agree. And Noelie, well, she is allergic to strawberry which causes her to break out in a rash across her forehead. So, I believe she hasn't been spared and is also an allergy sufferer. It is now gone. Another mystery.

We have also tweaked Noelie's routine this week. She turns one in a couple of weeks. Since her last visit to the hospital, she wasn't drinking enough to my liking. She would leave half her morning bottle, refuse to drink water, juice, formula during the day and would also refuse her evening bottle. I was getting a bit worried as she, more than anybody, needs a lot of fluids. She needed to drink to get rid of her kidney infection and to prevent any more. So I took a drastic step, some parents would probably call it a crime, as would some experts. I took her off the formula. Yes, I did. And filled up her bottle with cow's milk. (I can hear you gasp in horror). Not watered down cow's milk, not even gradually. I just went for it. I was at a loss, she doesn't like water, she doesn't like juice, she wouldn't drink her formula. But she had to drink something. Well, after a day getting used to the taste, she now drinks her full bottle in the morning and the evening. She also drinks a lot of it during the day. So, you know what? Call me a bad mother if you wish, I don't care! It works for us, she drinks the fluids she needs to prevent more kidney infections, and she likes it. She eats very well too so I am not worried about other nutrients and vitamins. So, I'm glad to say bye bye expensive formula, welcome cow's milk!

We also changed her daytime routine a bit, especially her nap times as she was more and more unsettled since the infection. We have always been very lucky that she was in a routine that suited all of us. But the past week had been a bit difficult. She was not sleeping as well as usual. Thankfully, the changes we have made seem to agree with her and she is now a very happy, settled baby, crawling around, standing up and talking away. She added a few words to her very limited vocabulary so far. She can now say Hello/Allo (not sure which yet but they have the same meaning anyway!), chien (dog) and chat (cat). She will probably develop her vocabulary a bit later than other children anyway since we are raising her in a bilingual environment and she needs to learn 2 words for the one thing. Or is that just a myth? Anyway, I am delighted to see that she can understand both languages. Marie also seems to be catching up on the years I didn't speak french to her and is learning nursery rhymes in french.

On another note, the family just got bigger again. Our cat Nama gave birth to 3 kittens this morning under our bed. We had noticed her getting gradually fatter the past few weeks and had guessed that she was probably pregnant. And indeed she was. We have decided to keep one of the kittens and give the other ones away. Mummy and babies are doing very well!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Are you a good neighbour?

Are you a good neighbour? I'd say we are, and yet we aren't. We like to keep ourselves to ourselves. Hello, Goodbye, the occasional request for help is fine. But we like our privacy and don't like to feel invaded.

I come from a different country and culture, and I also come from the country. I say I come from a specific town when realistically, I come from the middle of nowhere, a mere 20 minutes drive from the major big city. I studied there, I partied there, I consider myself from that city. Plus it makes it easier for people to have a rough idea of where I'm from. Everybody who likes rugby has heard of it because the rugby team tends to go far in the Heineken cup (sorry, Leinster and Munster fans but it's an all French final this year, and WE are in it.) I'll let you guess which town I'm from (although I probably mentioned it somewhere!).

I don't know if it's just my family (extend that to grand parents, uncles etc) but we are not really neighbourly. Growing up, I had 3 neighbours. Two were across the road and elderly, and the third one was way back at the back of the garden. None had children my age. None were my parents' age. I don't remember the neighbours popping in for a chat and a cup of tea (mostly because it never happened, and because we don't drink tea by the bucket either). Even my grand parents who lived in town, never had their neighbours in. We are quite private. A wave across the fence and a hello was the most you would get from us, and we would get from them. Which is probably why I am amazed and fascinated by programs like Corrie and EastEnders. Because I have never experienced that kind of closeness (bordering on invasion) with my neighbours.

My mother in law is very 'old Dublin'. She grew up with the people on her road, they had kids around the same time, they all know each other. Every morning the Tea Brigade (as Mr Foodie likes to call them) pops in for their morning tea and hour's chat, gossip and occasional bitching session. They all know each other's business, dirty laundry and secrets. Personally, I don't know how she does it. When I had the misfortune pleasure of attending such sessions of the Tea Brigade, I heard more or less the same story over and over again. But 'each to their own' as she likes to say, she enjoys it so good for her. In that sense, we probably are not very good neighbours. We announced recently that we wanted to move, preferably to a bungalow, in the middle of the countryside with no direct neighbour as opposed to living on an estate. It suits me just fine because that is the kind of environment I grew up in. Her reaction was 'Ah, you need neighbours.' But do we really?

We have a neighbour at the moment. If you can call it a neighbour. She lives above our heads. We live in a bungalow which attic has been converted into a little flat. We lived in it for a little bit as I mentioned there. She has her own entrance to the side of our house. She has a key to our garden, so that she can use her washing machine in the shed. Since we moved in the main house, we have had 3 people living above our heads. One was a single man in his 30s, which we never heard and very rarely seen. The other one was a single woman in her 40s who was friendly but not invasive. And then, there is Her. 

Her moved in around January. She is in her late 20s. She came down to introduce herself. She looked nice enough. She said that she was doing a course to become a Special Needs Assistant (sorry, love, bad timing, did you not hear that the government got rid of most of them?). We got talking a little bit. I asked her about her course and with whatever little knowledge I have on the subject of children with special needs (thank you Jen!), I quickly realized that she didn't have a clue. Anyway, she reassured us that she was a quiet girl, that she would take into consideration that we had small children when it came to noise level etc. She asked a few questions about cable TV and other utilities. We were being nice and neighbourly. But things have started to go a bit downhill since. And we find ourselves becoming 'bad' neighbours.

First, she started to pop down. Preferably in the evening, when we were relaxing and having a nice glass of wine. Then she started making herself at home, kick off the shoes and put her feet on our couch, looking at our laptops screens. She told us she had a laptop too but no Internet connection. We stupidly nicely offered to share our Internet connection with her (I know, I can hear you laughing.). She promised not to over use it. Sure she doesn't use her laptop much. Just to 'watch movies and go on Facebook'. What she failed to mention was that the movies were not DVDs, oh no, she was downloading them. Oh and since she dropped out of her course ('it was too hard, you know.'), she had plenty of time to watch movies and use the Internet. To cut a long story short, fed up with the slowness of the connection, we changed the WAP key on the modem yesterday. And we started opening the door in the evening half naked in our dressing gowns.

Then there is the noise. She is quite a slender girl. So, how come it feels like we have a herd of elephants living up there! The previous girl was not so slender and we couldn't hear her, so why can we hear Her? Granted, once she sprained her ankle so she had to hop from one room to the next and slide down the stairs. But not anymore! Or maybe she likes hopping, who knows. I don't mind it much during the day, the TV, baby, conversation, drowns the noise but at night, when she comes home at 2 am, then I do mind! And I'll let you imagine what we can hear when her boyfriend stays over. How am I supposed to answer Marie's question at 8am: 'Maman, what's that banging noise?'.

Then, there was the bin affair. She has her bin. We have our bin. The bin system changed and it took us 6 weeks and a 1h53 minutes phone call to the local council to get our bin collection sorted again. She did notice that our bin was going but not hers, so guess, she popped in, yes. And had the cheek audacity to ask me to sort hers out too, because I knew what I was doing. I nicely told her that I couldn't because it was under her name. A big fat lie if you ask me, but do I look like I am her secretary or work for the council?

Then there is the clothes line at the back. As I said, she has access to the back garden so that she can use her washing machine located in the shed. I have no problem with that. She mentioned that her contract said that she couldn't use the line at the back. We told her that we didn't mind. After all, how much washing can one person have? And also we remember what it was like living up there. We used to take our washing to Mr Foodie's mum at the week end so she could wash it and dry it for us. See, although we had the use of the washing machine at the back, we didn't want to invade the people living in the main house, so never used it. Well, I don't know how many clothes she owns, or how many times she changes a day but it looks like 3 clothing lines at the back are not enough! Oh and then she goes off and leaves them there for a couple of days! Hello, there is 4 of us in here too and one of them is a baby! So I turned into a bit of a bitch, I started taking some of the pegs into the house. We bought them after all, and I also have a clothes horse indoors that I use. And this morning, I came back from doing the weekly shopping and found her washing machine on. I had put a load on before leaving this morning and I was out there like a light. And I made sure that I used every single peg available! 1 baby sock per peg, oops and my wrap around cardigan really requires 4 pegs.

But that's not all! Oh no! The cherry on the cake! She once again popped in the other day, this time to announce that she was leaving (I wish), she wanted to have a housewarming party at the week end. Because she never had one. All the while, I was kneading some bread, so had taken my rings off, which she promptly picked up to admire! (Hands OFF!). And her brightest idea to date! She wanted to have a barbecue in the garden! Now, I'm pretty sure that if her contract says she can't use the clothes line at the back, a barbecue out there is not even to be considered! Of course, she will ask her friends (oh, did I mention that she comes from one of the worse neighbourhoods around?) to keep the noise down if the baby is sleeping. Emm, I don't think so! We are not at all comfortable with the idea of our garden being invaded by people we do not know from Adam! What are we supposed to do? Leave the house (that would make a great target!)? Stay there but close all the curtains for a few hours? I don't think so.

Thank god, we will be moving out soon. And the further the neighbour,s the better! Now, I'd better go off and put my dressing gown on, just in case she pops down to see if we have any problems with our Internet connection!

Have you ever had neighbours like that? Did you turn to little sneaky tricks to stop them from invading your privacy

Monday, May 10, 2010

A mother bear's instinct.

It's been a long week. We got a lot done. I (finally) got Noelie registered in the French embassy. I got Marie's 'first big girl's' haircut. We went to a communion. We went to the hospital.

For a few days, I had a feeling that something was not quite right with Noelie. Call it a mother's instinct. There was nothing wrong with her. She was in great form. Crawling around, talking, clapping her hands, singing. Feeding well. Yet, something at the back of my mind was telling me that something was not quite right.

Friday, as opposed to the previous days, had been a quiet day. Until about 7.30 pm, when Noelie developed a high temperature. We gave her Nurofen and a lukewarm bath (in which Mr Foodie jumped fully clothed as apparently, 'it's easier to splash with her that way'). We brought the temperature down. She fed well, went to bed. We kept an eye on her during the night and she was fine. She slept well.

On Saturday, we had planned to go to Waterford for Mr Foodie's godson's communion. Noelie had a bit of a temperature in the morning. But it had gone so we decided to go down. It all went well but by 1pm, her temperature was back up. So we left early and made our way back to Dublin. At 6pm, her temperature was going up still. So we decided to bring her to the hospital.

Back in October, Noelie was admitted in for 3 days as she had a a UTI. And this time, the signs were the same. High temperature that came and went. A little cough (probably unrelated but still). Still herself and otherwise in great form. Nappies that were not as wet as usual. So we made the decision to go and get it checked out. Just in case.

We got there and she was admitted into the A&E. A nurse came over to check her out. She took her temperature that was still a bit high, checked her for rashes. Asked us the usual questions, checking for allergies etc.. Noelie is allergic to strawberries. It gives her eczema. And, what a surprise! The nurse came back to us with a syringe full of, yes, strawberry Calpol. We asked her for something else as first, Noelie doesn't like Calpol, and second, even though it is only strawberry flavoured, it still causes her to break out in a rash. Since there were no visible signs of anything in particular being wrong with her, we were asked to provide a urine sample. As the mother of the 2 year old little boy who was in the bed next to ours found out, it is not an easy task. Her little boy peed everywhere but in the little cup, not once, but twice. After a while, we did manage to get a few drops of the precious liquid in the cup and dropped it at the nurse's station. We got talking to a very nice health care assistant who informed us that she had sent the sample to the lab since it looked like Noelie had yet another UTI. All we could do now is hope that they wouldn't keep her in again. At 9.15, Mr Foodie went over to the nurse's station to see if the results had come back. Since that first nurse, nobody had been in to see us. The results had come back and she was being released with a prescription for antibiotics for the next week. So at 10.30 pm and after a well deserved detour via McDonald's drive through, we finally got home. Noelie went to bed and slept well and her temperature didn't come back until morning.

You would have thought that we had a bit of common sense and that we stayed at home and looked after our baby yesterday. But no, not us. Since her temperature was down, she was in good form and she had received her antibiotics, we decided to take a trip to the seaside. All of Mr Foodie's family had congregated there. It was also the first outing of the new baby. For those of you who are wondering, yes, they did call her the double barrel name that sounds incredibly like Noelie's real name. Arrrghhh. I did make a quick comment about it and left it at that.

At best, I'm a mother bear. It gets worse when my cubs are not feeling too good. And yesterday was a real test of my diplomacy skills. I think, at the best of times, people give the girls too much attention, especially Noelie. Comments such as 'she's so advanced for her age' etc make me grind my teeth. Our girls are not perfect. Our girls are average. Yes, they are advanced in some skills yet they are behind in others. I believe in praising the children, when they deserve it. Marie is 7, she is past the age of the 'good girl' for everything. She gets praise when she does something that is either out of her comfort zone, or she gets her homework right, or something a bit difficult for her. She doesn't get praised for picking up after herself, she gets a thank you. She gets recognition and encouragement and praise. Because in the real world, you don't always get recognition, let alone praise. I probably sound like a hard mother. I'm not. She receives praise and recognition and encouragement on a daily basis. I'm incredibly proud of my girls. I just don't like them to get too much attention and rewards for nothing. I don't believe that my children are better than all the other children (well sometimes), I don't believe that the sun shines out of their you know what. But that's just me.

As soon as we got there, Noelie was whisked away. She was pulled in all directions (metaphorically of course). 'Are you coming to me', 'Clap for X, Y, Z', 'Give us a smile', 'Are you giving me some?', 'Give the baby a kiss' were fusing, all at the same time, all by different people, who all knew that she had spent 4 hours in hospital the evening before and that her little body was fighting an infection. Despite all that, they were still asking her to perform. I felt like putting her hat in front of her. Give the monkey a penny and she will perform a trick for you! We thought that the new baby would 'deflect' some of the attention away from her. It didn't. We thought that people would understand that even though 'she looks in great form', she is not. They didn't. I felt like telling them to leave her alone, give her some space. She does not need anybody literally in her face when we are trying to feed her. She does not need anybody, trying to get her attention when we are trying to get her to drink the fluids that will help her flush away the infection. She would happily sit in her buggy and watch the world go by. She does not need to be asked to perform. She is not a performing monkey. She does not need 10 different people trying to get a piece of the Noelie cake, trying to hold her, trying to get her to say things, trying to get her to clap her hands, trying to get her to come to them. She needs space and peace. I was quite uneasy, so was Mr Foodie. All we could do was stand back, relegated to the back of the crowd while our baby was being taken over, while everybody was getting their little piece of her. After an hour or so, we made our excuses and left. We talked about it and we both felt the same way. Since it is his side of the family, I don't feel like it is my place to say anything. It's not really fair on him. I don't want to sound ungrateful. They are all caring, nice people. I am sure they don't realize that, sometimes, they just take over. I know it will be difficult. We don't want to fall out with people, we don't want them to take it the wrong way. But all we would like is just a bit of space for her and for us, time to get settled when we get there, without her being taken over, being whisked away, having people in her face asking her to perform. Even on a normal day, when she feels good. Unless they ask, unless we ask.

Have you ever had to ask people to 'back off' a bit? How did you approach it? Or are you just glad to go along with it?

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